August 15, 2002 | News Releases on Middle East
WASHINGTON, AUG. 14, 2002 - In light of
its "overwhelming anti-Israeli bias" and credible allegations that
the aid it gives the Palestinian Authority (PA) has funded
Palestinian terrorism, the European Union cannot be considered an
honest broker of the peace in the Middle East crisis, says a new
paper from The Heritage Foundation.
Indeed, the Bush administration should
press for an independent investigation into whether EU aid has been
misused-and call on European leaders to halt direct funding for the
Palestinian Authority until elections have been held and a
leadership change has occurred, says Nile Gardiner, a visiting
fellow in Anglo-American security policy at Heritage.
The EU gave the Palestinian Authority
$3.36 billion between 1994 and 2000, a report from London's
Financial Times shows. The Europeans continue to give the PA 10
million euros per month, and the European Commission recently
decided to award 260,000 euros for legal aid to Palestinian
prisoners held in Israeli detention centers. Meanwhile, Europeans
have "turned a blind eye to corruption, misrule, torture and
numerous human rights violations by Mr. Arafat's security forces,"
the Times says.
Israeli officials, citing captured
Palestinian documents, have alleged that Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat was "personally involved in the planning and execution of
terror attacks" because he used money donated from other countries
to pay gunmen and the families of suicide bombers deployed by the
Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. After a lengthy investigation, the
German newspaper Die Zeit also found substantial links between EU
money and Palestinian terrorism. "The gullibility, naiveté
and forbearance of the Europeans seems unending," the newspaper
The EU claims the International
Monetary Fund verified that the money it gave Arafat has been spent
appropriately; the IMF responded that it does not monitor or
control EU payments to the Palestinians. All the European
Commission could say after an internal investigation is that "the
documents presented to us by Israel do not prove EU funds have been
But there's no disputing the fact that
the EU has voiced virulent anti-Israeli sentiment recently,
Gardiner says, with many European leaders equating the terrorist
actions of Palestinian militants with legitimate measures taken by
the Israeli Defense Force. "The Europeans apparently want to
project power in a region where they believe their diplomatic and
economic influences rival that of the United States," he says.
"This stems from a desire on their part to challenge U.S. military,
economic and diplomatic hegemony."
For the most part, this opposition for
opposition's sake does not include Great Britain, Gardiner says.
Despite the protests of some backbenchers from the liberal wing of
his own Labor Party, Prime Minister Tony Blair has begun to prepare
his country to join with the United States should it attack
In the near-term, Gardiner says, the
EU's financial and rhetorical embrace of the PA against Israel
means it can't be considered an honest broker in peace
negotiations. In the longer term, he says, it means the United
States must make clear to the EU it won't wait till the crisis in
Israel ends to deal with Iraq, that it won't waver in its support
for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and that, if the EU truly
supports peace, it should withdraw its financial support for Arafat
and his cronies and curb its anti-Israeli rhetoric.
NOTE: All Heritage Foundation research and publications are available on the Internet at http://www.heritage.org. For background, talking points and policy recommendations on today's most critical issues-from homeland security to welfare reform-go to the on-line edition of "Issues 2002" at http://www.heritage.org/research/features/issues/